Starring: Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter, Samuel West, Vanessa Redgrave, Nicola Duffett, James Wilby, Adrian Ross Magenty
Director: James Ivory
Summary: A businessman’s decision to thwart his wife’s bequest of an estate to another woman comes to affect three families of different classes.
Other Nominations: Director, Actress (Thompson)*, Supporting Actress (Redgrave), Adapted Screenplay*, Original Score, Art Direction*, Cinematography, Costume Design
Howards End is a great story about class-struggle with richly developed characters and an excellent cast. Thompson does an especially incredible job of pull off a challenging role, considering her character is meant to be a complex mixture and a bridge between the new idealistic, well-read woman of the late 1800s-early 1900s in England and the rationality and cold calculations of the burgeoning industrial business class. The sets and costumes are what you expect from a Merchant-Ivory production: they look terrific despite their remarkably small budgets (in this case, the movie was made for $8 million). For me it took a while to really warm up the film because it takes its time setting up the characters before finally putting them in real conflict with each other, but the effort pays off as it makes all the major and supporting characters very individualized and the story develops a lot of complexity. Not for everyone, but if you enjoy period dramas or even just an outstanding cast, give this one a watch.